Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Post "Race" Recovery

My baby girl finally arrived!

Noelle Marie
11:03 am, September 18, 2010
8 pounds, 8 ounces

Meeting Mom

Marathons are tough. For those of us non-elites, usually two weeks of complete (or near complete) rest is recommended to recover from a marathon effort. Is there any parallel to labor recovery?

Our labor certainly was a marathon... 2 1/2 days of back labor. Thankfully, we avoided a c-section which, at one point, seemed inevitable. With a marathon, however, you exit the event in peak physical form, ready for a well deserved break. Most new mothers probably have the same reaction I did after seeing their apparently still 6-month pregnant post-delivery belly... when can I exercise again and get rid of this?!?

I had an average pregnancy weight gain of 30 lbs, with 14 lbs lost in delivery. So 16 lbs and an unmeasurable amount of lost muscle tone are my new enemies =) Realistically, of course, I will be taking the considerable time needed to recover before picking up running again. Will it be two weeks... six weeks... who knows? Right now, I'm relaxing, taking walks and enjoying my baby girl.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cross Training

Around 38 weeks I reached the point where running finally became unappealing. Jogging started to consistently bring on Braxton Hicks contractions, so, I was in a perpetual run/walk cycle anyway. Instead of jogging, I've been trying to do a little more of some usually neglected cross training activities.

Yoga: Specifically, prenatal yoga. I've tried yoga several times over the last 10 years and never really taken to it. First, flexibility has never been a strength of mine. So, even the 'easy' beginner poses were awkward and uncomfortable. Second, beginner classes usually didn't have a strong strength element. Thus I never felt like I was really getting a work-out and I became frustrated with 'wasting' my time. However, in my third trimester I started getting the usual suite of pregnancy body aches and found the gentle prenatal yoga classes to be very helpful in relieving sore hips, back, etc. Now that I've been going regularly (2-3 times per week) I've come to appreciate the general relaxation that comes with yoga as well. Perhaps it's something I will continue post pregnancy also.

Walking: With two 70 lbs dogs in a 800 square-foot apartment, walking is a normal part of my routine. I never considered it as actual exercise, though. However, at this point, I'll take what I can get and count my few daily miles with the dogs as, at least, time I don't just spend on the couch.

Swimming: Swimming is an activity I've had a love-hate relationship with. Every few years, I take it up in earnest and get to the point where I can do some decent lap work-outs. This usually happens when recovering from some minor running injury. Then, once running again, I stop swimming regularly and lose the endurance I've built up. It surprises me every time I start again just how good of a workout swimming is. Swimming with my current whale-like proportions is much more tame. I'll do a handful of laps, then just bop around the pool in the free-swim area... enjoying the buoyancy and not feeling huge for a change =)